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yasser arafat

  • Colombia's Israel connection: Peacemaking and the Peace Prize

    If the Nobel committee sought to move the needle on Colombian peace by honoring one of its auteurs, they might do well to remember a similar experiment that is all-too-familiar to observers in the Middle East. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize, which went to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos “for his resolute efforts to bring [Colombia’s] more than 50-year-long civil war to an end,” is being portrayed by some as a potential counterbalance to the October 2 referendum in which Colombians narrowly voted down a peace deal between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. [tmwinpost]…

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  • Why do we only listen to violence?

    Two intifadas increased Israeli willingness to make territorial withdrawals. Wars in Lebanon and Egypt led Israel to withdrawals from those territories. Despite all that, the Palestinian Authority is trying to maintain quiet and security for Israelis but receives nothing in return. If I were Palestinian I might come to a disturbing conclusion. One axiom of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that Palestinian violence pushes the Jewish public rightward. Due to violence, common wisdom goes, the willingness of Israeli Jews to make concessions or compromise decreases, and Palestinian independence or equality becomes more of a pipe dream. Only refraining from violence will…

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  • Yitzhak Rabin never supported Palestinian statehood

    For 20 years the Israeli Left has utilized selective memory to reinvent the late prime minister. In reality, Rabin only wanted to grant the Palestinians limited autonomy, a goal he achieved through the Oslo Accords. By Yakir Adelman Ahead of the 1992 elections in Israel there was a televised debate between Yitzhak Rabin and incumbent prime minister Yitzhak Shamir. At the end of the debate Shamir was allowed to ask his opponent a question of his choice: “Do you really want a Palestinian state within the land of Israel?” Rabin answered decisively: “I oppose a Palestinian state between us and the…

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  • The side of Rabin's legacy Israelis love to forget

    Over 20 years later, the mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO teaches us one thing: despite the hatred, we have no choice but to live together. From year to year, the memory of Yitzhak Rabin goes from a political issue to a nostalgic one. Twenty years after his assassination, the Israeli public is inundated with memories of Rabin the IDF chief of staff, Rabin the smoker, Rabin the straight-talker, etc. The films and articles memorializing him usually obscure (and often do not even include) one specific image: Rabin shaking hands with Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn in…

  • Israel’s scapegoat problem

    Israeli governments always found someone to blame for whatever violence came their way, and then they bombed them. This time around there's nobody to blame. Except for that one thing. By Talal Jabari This current wave of “lone-wolf” attacks by Palestinians against Israelis poses a threat to the Israeli government unlike any other. Obviously I am not referring to the security risk they pose — after all, Israel has far more deaths and injuries from car accidents. Nor am I referring to the fear this onslaught of attacks may be causing Israelis. No, the real threat is that for the…

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  • My afternoon with Yasser Arafat

    Ten years after Arafat's death, an Arab citizen of Israel reflects on a solidarity visit to the father of Palestinian nationalism in his besieged Ramallah compound. By Seraj Assi Ten years ago, on November 11, 2004, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died in mysterious circumstances in Paris. Theories ranged from natural causes to assassination. The French, Russian and Swiss teams that investigated the cause all agreed to disagree. In a sense, Arafat was made in the image of Palestine: the mystery of his life and death remains largely unsolved. I met Arafat three years before his death. That was in late December…

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  • 10 years after Arafat: Where did the Palestinian leadership go?

    In both Gaza and Ramallah the Palestinian leadership hasn’t gotten involved in the latest wave of violence. They’re not condemning it, they’re not supporting it, and they’re certainly not offering Palestinians any vision. But Israelis shouldn't take comfort. One of the hottest topics in the media recently is the question of whether we can call whatever is happening here lately an intifada. Regardless of whether or not there is an intifada, the source and solution still lie in the hands of the Israeli government, which chooses escalation instead of quiet and ending the occupation. But all that aside, it’s still…

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  • How three Israeli journalists brought Arafat into Israeli homes

    Fifty years after the founding of the PLO, journalist Anat Saragusti talks about the first interview Yasser Arafat gave to an Israeli media outlet, looking for the real story in Beirut under siege, and the importance of pushing the limits of society’s comfort zone. By Anat Saragusti This story can go in a number of directions. It can be a story about war, or about different world views, it can be a political story or a societal one, and it is of course, first and foremost a journalistic story. For me, it’s all of those things together. It was the beginning…

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  • 'There was no generous offer': A history of peace talks

    Raviv Drucker, a prominent journalist who co-hosts a well-known television magazine program on Channel 10, wrote a tough blog post in which he takes some of Israel's best known journalists to task for presenting a completely erroneous interpretation of the Palestinian position regarding a negotiated agreement for a two-state solution. I have translated his post with permission.  By Raviv Drucker Ari Shavit has written another one of his fabulous treatises in his exemplary prose style that is, as his articles often are, completely detached from the facts. According to Shavit, Mahmoud Abbas is an intransigent negotiator who fails every time he…

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  • What does the future hold for Israel’s military politicians?

    Could the Jewish state ever be lead by a class of non-military politicians? Until there is a peace agreement with the Palestinians, it seems unlikely. And even then, who knows? By Thomas G. Mitchell Historically there have been two types of Israeli leaders who have been willing to give up territory to the Arabs in exchange for peace. The first type consists of conservative civilian politicians who distrust and fear the Arabs, but who, because of foreign pressure or opportunity, are willing to make peace under the right circumstances. Examples of these are Golda Meir in 1974, Menahem Begin in 1977-79 with…

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  • Mandela: I was inspired by Begin's struggle against the British

    Mandela's statements about Begin on the one hand and Arafat on the other should make just about everyone uncomfortable. In Chapter 42 of his autobiography "Long Walk to Freedom," Nelson Mandela describes how, in 1961, he began forming the African National Congress' (ANC) military wing to launch guerrilla attacks on the apartheid regime. "I, who had never been a soldier, who had never fought in battle, who had never fired a gun at an enemy, had been given the task of starting an army. ... I began in the only way I knew how, by reading and talking to experts." Mandela…

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  • More subtle than it seems: The mystery of Arafat’s death

    Nine years on, Yasser Arafat's death brings up more questions than answers. Speculation runs rampant as to the nature of his death, while the potential for a scientifically conclusive cause of death, let alone the identity of a possible perpetrator, fades away.  By Marian Houk In "Killing Arafat," a recent Al-Jazeera documentary on the mysterious death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, former Palestinian Foreign Minister (and Arafat's nephew) Nasser al-Qidwa says that there is a reason why no autopsy had been conducted on the venerated PLO chairman. According to al-Qidwa, the Palestinians "would have seen with their own eyes a…

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  • The Israeli negotiator who thinks the two-state solution is still possible

    Veteran Israeli negotiator Shaul Arieli discusses the failure of the Oslo Accords, various Israeli prime ministers' commitment (or lack thereof) to ending the occupation, and the only solution he believes both sides could live with, however unsatisfied they might be with it.  Shaul Arieli is a man on a dual mission: educating Israelis about the conflict and diplomatic process with the Palestinians, and making the point that the two-state solution is both possible and necessary. His latest publication in Hebrew, A Border between Us and You (Yeditoth Ahronoth Books 2013), is a 500-page handbook to the history of the conflict, with an emphasis on…

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